The Curious Case of Cryptocurrency in China

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While China has spent the past year implementing a series of prohibiting regulations that have made it almost impossible for the cryptocurrency industry to thrive within the country, Chinese crypto enthusiasts have not let government regulation prevent them from moving forward with crypto and Blockchain innovation. Operating in China within the limits of the many restrictions related to crypto  — from the ban of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and domestic fiat-crypto exchanges in September 2017 to the additional January ban of “exchange-like services”, to the February ban of foreign exchanges — is reportedly not impossible.

However, there are some Chinese innovators that see a future in the country’s crypto and Blockchain markets, regardless or in spite of current limitations for operating there. These entrepreneurs are doing their best to develop their crypto and Blockchain projects specifically with a Chinese audience in mind.

Two such Chinese crypto entrepreneurs, Yi Lu, one of the founders of media-company SV Insight and Xiahong Lin, founder of Blockchain prediction market platform Bodhi spoke about the Chinese ecosystem in interviews with Cointelegraph, while at the  Blockchain Connect conference in San Francisco, held in January this year. SV Insight hosted the event and Bodhi was one of the sponsor’s.

Lu said that organising the event, given that SV insight was an American-Chinese media company, served to bond the Blockchain communities of both states and to get them to share their opinions. He added that there were plans for a similar conference in China itself.

Lin, the founder of Bodhi, a decentralised prediction market built on Qtum Blockchain, talked about his project and the rationale for using Qtum to build it, among other things. He explained that with Qtum having a partially Chinese team and given the current Chinese ecosystem, it made sense to do so. He stressed that different blockchains were going to serve different purposes in the future and using an alternative blockchain to Ethereum that was key for the Chinese market. He added that like many products before, even if functionalities are the same, there will be multiple Blockchains in different regions, different countries, because essentially language, business or culture are all about being local. Lin weighed in on the future of cryptos, saying that regulation is doable and would grow the Industry in the right direction.

China is still seen as a hub for blockchain development despite all the bans and regulations on cryptocurrencies. In the past week, Chinese IT Ministry has published a list of objectives to encourage the development and standardization of the technology sector, including Blockchain while Chinese regulators, banks, and payment providers ‎are reportedly set to carry out a test of ‎Ripple’s settlement solution, xCurrent, ‎in a bid to improve ‎‎payment infrastructure and ‎enable financial institutions to instantly ‎settle cross-border payments with ‎end-to-end tracking.‎ Both these developments show that China wants to shape into a major player in terms of utilising DLT in the future, despite all the qualms the authorities have had with cryptocurrencies in the past year.

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